Posts tagged “plane”

Time, he’s waiting in the wings

Originally uploaded by Victor Lombardi, who criticizes the addition of arrival data to the NYC subways, because that info shifts the experience into a waiting experience. It’s funny, because I had just spent 40 minutes at the San Francisco airport waiting for an arriving passenger, where they had no signage whatsoever about the different flights. I found it incredibly frustrating and tedious, since I couldn’t stop watching and couldn’t plan what I should do for the next 5, 10, 20, etc. minutes. I was musing to myself that more information – LOTS more information – makes waiting more tolerable. In-flight maps give you more information, allowing you to participate vicariously in the flight you are on (rather than passively as a butt-in-a-seat). Add in the good-vibes of transparency and it’s obvious…

And then Challis blogged the story about the post office removing clocks which hit the blogosphere with a predictable critique — the post office is playing Big Brother by removing info that would make us less satisfied with the experience. Challis would probably agree with my call for transparency and participation, but what would Victor think about the post office? Do the clocks shift the waiting time to something less pleasant?

Clearly, it depends on the person, their frame of mind, and the location. Lots of context to consider. But the contrasting examples seemed provocative.

What are you selling?

I’m impressed and concerned by these ads for air travel that show the boarding bridge, only. Sitting on board a plane pretty much sucks, so why show that part of your experience? Show what you get, instead, by sitting on a plane – you get to be someplace else. This idea is not new, of course, but the choice to show the physical equipment being used with the deliberate exception of the plane itself is striking. How challenging it would be to try and sell people on the riding-of-planes, rather than the arriving-at-destinations.

We’ve gotta get these MF butts in the MF seats.

We saw Little Miss Sunshine on Saturday (highly recommended) in our first visit to a theater in months and months. The guy in front of us (English likely being a second language) asked for tickets to Snacks On A Plane (good luck, buddy, snack boxes are $5 now).

Anyway, at the risk of adding to a heavily crowded blog-topic, “Snakes on a Plane,” the wildly hyped high-concept movie, turned out to be a Web-only phenomenon this weekend, as that horror-comedy starring Samuel L. Jackson took in just $15.2 million at the box office in its opening days. The article runs through the history of the film and the hype and the marketing and the buzz pretty nicely, but did any of us expect it to do well? It seems like there’s some confusion between irony, post-irony, and post-post-irony…okay, that’s a lot of bullshit, but my way of saying that it can be fun to be involved with something that you know is crap, but that’s a very different sort of loyalty than, say, Harley-Davidson owners with company-logo tattoos and wardrobes that consist entirely of HOG-branded t-shirts.
Update: shortly after posting this I see on BoingBoing that a guy did indeed get a SoaP tattoo – I don’t think this changes my thesis, but it is ironic.

Studio sez: Hey, here’s a bad movie.
We say: Hey, that is a really bad movie. Ha-ha! We can’t believe how bad it is! You should, oh, I dunno, add some more cursing into it, heh heh, it’s soooo bad. It’s bad. A bad movie. Heh.
Studio sez: Yeah! It’s a BAAAAD bad movie. Here’s some more cursing. And more over-the-top bad stuff. We know you know it’s bad.
We say: Hey, they put more cursing into it! It’s pretty silly and funny and bad. It’s a bad movie.
Studio sez: You know that we know that you know it’s bad.
We say: Yeah, it’s a bad movie. Snakes on a plane, yo. Heh.
Your mom sez: Are you fellas going to see this snake movie?
We say: Hey! Bad movie! Snakes on a plane!
Studio sez: Here it is! The movie you have been talking about.

[crickets chirping]

Come on! How much appeal is there for crap, compared to the appeal of making fun of crap? Just because the studio got in on the fun, doesn’t mean anyone was really persuaded or had much intention. I guess a Rocky Horror cult particpation thing could have emerged (and still could; it’s early days, some of these films take on second and third and beyond lives), but it didn’t seem likely.

And as I posted before, the meme definitely jumped the shark. I don’t know if they talked about the movie on The View, but I wouldn’t be surprised. If being ironic is supposed to be cool, I don’t want Barbara Walters or Parade Magazine in on the joke with me.

Verizon to End Airline Telephone Service

I wrote (a while back) about phone calls on airplanes, and was intrigued to see this news today

Verizon Airfone, whose handsets have graced the backs of airline seats for more than two decades, will end its phone service on commercial airliners before the end of the year.

Verizon Communications, Airfone’s parent company, has decided instead to focus on its faster-growing broadband, cellular and television businesses, Jim Pilcher, the director of marketing at Verizon Airfone, said yesterday.

Though Mr. Pilcher declined to say how many customers Airfone has, industry analysts said the service was rarely used. Verizon, they said, would have had to spend heavily to install newer, more compelling technology.

“The business they went after is the calling business, and the reality is no one sits on planes and makes calls,” said Jonathan Schildkraut, a telecommunications analyst at Jefferies & Company. Verizon has “much bigger fish to fry,” he said.

Airfone, which Verizon acquired when it bought GTE in 2000, has phones in about 1,000 planes operated by Continental, Delta, United Airlines and US Airways. The company will work with the airlines to figure out how to remove the phones and other equipment from the planes.

Airfone, which began service 21 years ago, is still exploring the option of selling the business. Mr. Pilcher declined to say whether his company had identified any potential buyers.

Airfone will continue to provide telecommunications services on about 3,400 corporate and government planes.

I’ve rarely seen the phones used, as their expert suggests. Do we think data services (i.e., get your laptop on the Internet while you fly) is a bigger fish? Is using your own personal cell phone a bigger fish? Maybe we’ll get seatback LCD screens in place of the phones. Or in-seat pretzel dispensers that could make use of the credit-card-swiping mechanism already in place?

Bombay Sapphire, anyone?

Low-cost airline pilot ‘tried to fly drunk’

An Indian low-cost airline suspended a pilot after he was found drunk shortly before he was due to fly an aircraft with about 100 passengers on board, officials said on Wednesday.

The surprise Tuesday check at Mumbai airport — India’s busiest — threw up several minor violations of safety norms by airlines, including an instance of a pilot in another low-cost carrier trying to fly in a T-shirt because his only uniform had gone to the laundry.

“threw up several minor violations” is an interesting choice of words.

Bombay Sapphire, anyone?


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